Thursday, August 26, 2010

Film Review - The Book of Eli (2010)

The Book of Eli stars Denzel Washington as Eli, a man in a post apocalyptic world who is journeying west to a place beyond the vermin who have inherited the Earth, but his journey won't be gone on alone.

The Book of Eli was I thought, not a terrible film as there were some good parts but it's also a film that's not very good either, first off Washington is awesome, showing the same star power that Clint Eastwood showed, minimal, full of depth but never boring, another that impressed was Mila Kunis who is starting to turn into a promising actress, Gary Oldman was a little over the top but overall I thought the film was just okay at best overall, had it not been for Washington being so good in this film, it would have certainly been a failure.

The other factor that I should really talk about and is what lies at the heart of the problem I had with this movie is the Mad Max influence, you see whenever I see a new apocalyptic film and The Road from earlier this year also qualifies, both of them in the end make me want to watch Mad Max 1 and 2 more than anything else, as both of those films mentioned borrow very heavily from that film in terms of the main plot and character, they're either drifters coming through a compound be it a town or otherwise and promises to help them as they travel wherever to their place far beyond the reach of men on machines or their wanting to do what I just mentioned, travel to their place in the sun beyond that vermin on machines, where the main lead lives on only in their memories, I mean come on guys this is really starting to get on my nerves.

So yeah folks, if you want a good apocalyptic ride, go rent the first two Mad Max movies, only rent this one if you must, 2 out of 5.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trailer Watch: Love and Other Drugs

Possibly being used as a way to kick off the Oscar Season of 2010, two trailers for director Edward Zwick's (he made 1989's Glory and recently Defiance with Daniel Craig) drama comedy Love and Other Drugs, which stars Jake Gyllenhall as a pharmaceutical salesman who meets his match in Maggie played by Anne Hathaway, but she has a dark secret of her own.

having watched the two trailers, the one that was the most recently released stood out, the first trailer made it look like last year's sleeper (500) Days of Summer which starred Joseph-Gordon Levitt (recently seen in Chris Nolan's Inception) and Zooey Deschanel as two lovers who see through each other while the second made it look like last year's The Time Traveller's Wife, which starred Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams as two lovers destined to be together only for one to die of an incurable disease.

With that out of the way, does it make me want to see the film; well no it doesn't, as the second trailer felt like you had seen the driving force of the film, something I don't like much at all and the first made it look like another romantic drama, but while the film has received mostly positive word from preview screenings, the final film may be different altogether, especially given 20th Century Fox's notorious pennant for micro managing their directors.

But the thing that concerns me most is that Hathaway is becoming a favourite with this role for the best actress Oscar next year, something that I feel would be a big mistake, Hathaway shows enormous potential as an actress despite the industry's attempts to pigeonhole her into rom-com roles, if she were to win the Oscar for this, I fear that it might permanently typecast her into this genre, something that would see her end up like most Oscar winners of recent years, my top comparison being Renee Zellweger who started off well but after she won for Cold Mountain, her career virtually went down the toilet.

Well that's that, a movie that I might catch down the track on Blu-Ray but doesn't inspire me with confidence, Zwick's track record is spotty at best ever since Glory but I could be wrong.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Film Review - Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is the latest film from director Edgar Wright and based on a graphic novel, the story here is that Scott Pilgrim played by Michael Cera is infatuated with a girl named Ramona Flowers played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, but for them to be happy together he'll have to do battle with Ramona's seven evil exes.

As long time readers of my blog will know, Wright's 2007 film Hot Fuzz warmed it's way into my heart as a real favourite and as such, was eager to see what he'd have up his sleeve next, the early previews for this made me laugh but was it going to translate into a worthy successor to the Fuzz.

Sadly, not this time around for one crucial reason: Cera himself, quite frankly there is no real reason you come to care about him as most of the time he either gets the living daylights beaten out of him or he's whining about his own ex girlfriends, he doesn't quite get it that he has to fight in order to win Ramona despite everyone trying to get it through to him, contrast that with Nicholas Angel's arc in Fuzz, he was the top cop who grew into his role as a country lawman and his journey was worth following, here that doesn't happen.

There was some good stuff though, first off the battle scenes were expertly staged and edited, the 8 bit Universal logo is a hoot and Winstead, Brandon Routh and Kieran Culkin make the best of what they have, Routh in particular steals the show with his fast talking dialogue and powers that make him strong with the force.

But in the end, it added up to nothing, as Cera was a dead weight, normally if it's a side role that can be forgiven but this is your main man, there can be no excuses for this plus I couldn't help but feel that Edgar was out of his comfort zone here, hopefully Simon Pegg will be his co-writer again and the magic of Hot Fuzz will be back, as for this well it's a big disappointment overall, 1 and a half out of 5.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Editorial - The Balcony is Closed

No not my one, that rages stronger than ever but this one is about the end of "At the Movies", Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert's movie review show that started in 1975 and came to end in 2010.

Before I delve into that, I'll talk about my own experience with this show, it was through the balcony archive on the show's site and having looked at a few reviews of Gene and Roger (I had heard of Roger but not of Gene) I felt inspired, it was like watching a master class of film criticism by two people who were passionate and articulate and not afraid of defending their point of view which made for some beautiful watching and great laughter, it's also something that I've tried to take with me ever since.

But as for the end of the show, though A.O. Scott of the New York Times and Michael Phillips from the Chicago Tribune did good as did Richard Roeper from the Chicago Sun-Times where Roger is also at, I don't think anyone could have recaptured what Gene and Roger had, their chemistry was nothing short of magic, vital for a show such as this but once it's gone, it's almost impossible to get back, if at all.

Roger himself has hinted at his own review program using those trademark thumbs which he and Gene copyrighted, I can only hope that Disney keeps the Gene and Roger archive online for future reviewers wanting some inspiration and with great interest at what Roger has up his sleeve.